By Hanna Kim - August 20, 2018
The Costs Of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain (LBP) is an all too common an issue for Americans, with over 80 percent of us experiencing LBP at some point in our lives. LBP costs the US economy over $100 billion each year, with a staggering two-thirds being lost in wages and productivity, and the remainder directly in treatment and management.
Traditional Western medicine treatments for low back pain include MRI imaging, spinal injections, opioids, and surgery. These commonly used treatment methods are often highly expensive and have mixed results in providing relief for patients. While these treatments may be necessary for some populations, they may be adding unnecessary costs and risks to many who can benefit from alternative care options.
Integrated Care For Lower Back Pain Management
Because our modern lifestyles and work habits often involving sedentary tasks and activities, low back pain continues to rise, and newer research is showing how integrated care may be a better tactic to pain management than traditional methods. Integrated care means a more individualized experience for patients - primary care should be teamed with a variety of specialists including physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, and behavioral health providers, to provide a well-rounded and long lasting solution to LBP. With integrated care, treatment is planned based on an individual’s distinct experience and needs, allowing patients to play a more collaborative role in their health.
Self Care To Reduce Lower Back Pain
In line with integrated care, self-care is a way for us to take control of our own well being. Self care is about getting to understand how our bodies feel, why it might feel that way, and what we can do to feel our best. For those who are experiencing lower back pain, perhaps begin by considering what you are doing day to day. This could include work habits, food and alcohol consumption, exercise, sleep patterns, and more. Next, consider what you can do to improve current activities, and see if there are any healthy habits that could benefit you in your regular routine.
Massage, which might have once been considered a luxury is instead used by many today to help achieve their health goals. In AMTA’s 2017 Consumer Survey, 72% of participants used massage therapy as a form of self-care compared to 14% who felt it was pampering. The majority received massage for medical purposes such as help with pain or injury recovery, and for stress management. You can manage pain by taking an active role in your own health and seeking the care options that may be best suited for you.